Dragons out-half Sam Davies has created a social media stir following his Friday night decision to kick the ball dead at Rodney Parade, extinguishing any chance for his team to score the converted try that would have transformed a 29-35 defeat to Leinster into a 36-35 win.
Dragons had fought back commendably from 15-35 down against the reigning Guinness PRO14 champions to come within a converted score of the visitors to Newport.
However, rather than mount one final attack from inside the Dragons 22 with the clock in the red, Davies kicked the ball into touch to signal the end of the game and leave Leinster with the win (see highlights video below).
The decision by Davies generated much reaction on social media questioning what he had done when there was still the possibility for Dragons to play on and somehow manufacture a game-winning score against an opposition they rarely beat.
However, despite this negative reaction, Dragons boss Dean Ryan defended his player, calling it the right decision to end the game with the kick rather than launch a counter-attack and continue playing.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 19, 2021
“It was the right decision,” said Ryan in the aftermath to the South Wales Argus. “That was against one of the best running sides in Europe and let’s be honest, if you are sat at home on your couch then you don’t quite understand how heavy that pitch is.
“I don’t think that we were going 80 metres and we are at a stage where a point against Leinster is quite a smart move at the moment, and we have got to go and get some points next week (against Zebre). It was absolutely the right decision otherwise we are just going to cut our own throats, but we could have got to that point earlier in the game and then something might have been on, so that is for us to work on.”
Ryan’s reflection was at odds, however, with much of the social media reaction as disappointed fans outlined their dissatisfaction that Dragons didn’t at least try and go for the win.
What is Sam Davies doing? Ridiculous decision.
— soffs (@sioffs) February 19, 2021
A curious end to the game. Dragons with their tails up in scoring their third try and bringing the margin to 6 points. And Sam Davies throws in the towel to the puzzlement of some of his team mates by kicking the ball dead into touch.
— Pat Hale (@pat_hale1) February 19, 2021
The Dragons last night had the ball and had a chance to win the game and gain a famous victory over Leinster , but Sam Davies tamely kicks the ball out to end the game ? pic.twitter.com/3rE5eo2Xxe
— Paul (@Tumblescarlet67) February 20, 2021
Defeatist attitude, not a good look from Sam Davies and the Dragons.
— MikePop (@MikePop94819658) February 20, 2021
Sam Davies is going to get plenty of stick for what he did.
Although I can see why he’s done it.
I’m just upset because I wanted to see Baker galloping from 80m to win the game.
— Iestyn Rhys Thomas ??????? (@Iestyn_thomas21) February 19, 2021
Bloody hell did Sam Davies have money on Leinster ??
How underwhelmed did Eddie Butler sound#DRAvLEI
— The 2nd Row (@the2ndRow) February 19, 2021
Not sure what Sam Davies was thinking there ??
— Werdna Strebor ??????? (@PopeyeMcRoberts) February 19, 2021
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